American ‘forger’, 63, arrested in Thailand after 15-year hunt

An American fugitive accused of forging bank documents has been was arrested in Thailand after a 15-year hunt.

The ex-pat, 63, was found at a hotel in the busy tourist town of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on October 21 — just one day before the statute of limitation on the case expired.

Officers said the case started when a bank’s lawyer complained in February 2007 that two Thai men had forged documents and used other people’s ATM cards.

Thailand’s Crime Suspension Division (CSD) arrested the two Thais, named only as Thanatip and Thanyarat, who said they had been working with the American.

Police allegedly found a skimming website made to look like a well-known bank. They also found text messages sent to targeted at bank customers who conduct financial transactions through the fake E-banking system to use the site, dating back to October 2006.

The alleged victim was tricked into filling financial information on the website before the scammers took the passwords and transferred cash to different bank accounts.

Thanathip claimed that the foreigner deceived him into finding people to open a deposit bank account to receive returns from offshore stocks as the American also gave a bank card with a 100,000 baht balance and promised him compensation.

Investigating officers finally traced the man – who they have not named – and filed an arrest warrant for the foreigner on October 18, 2021 for ‘the wrongful use of an electronic card’. He was arrested and was bailed out but escaped without meeting the public prosecutor as scheduled.

On October 21, 2021 police located the American man at a hotel in Hua Hin and he was confirmed to be the person under the arrest warrant but claimed that he had never been arrested in this case before. The man also denied the allegation during the preliminary questioning.

Police Lieutenant General Jirapob Puridet said: ‘The Economic Crime Suppression Division has arrested a 63-year-old American national who had deceived others to conduct online transactions.

‘The total damage value is more than one hundred thousand baht. We arrested him after he had escaped justice for almost 15 years, with only one day left until the expiration date of the case.’